Professor Tamika Nunley wins book prize

Tamika Nunley, associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize by the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH) for her book, “At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C.” (University of North Carolina Press, 2021).

The Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize is awarded annually to the best book published in the preceding year on the subject of African American women’s history. Nunley’s book explores how African American women throughout American history navigated the oppressive restrictions placed upon them. Using primary sources such as government documents and memoirs, Nunley traced the path that Black women took in navigating legal and social proscriptions to develop their own sense of liberty. Nunley’s forthcoming book, “The Demands of Justice: Enslaved Women, Capital Crime, and Clemency in Early Virginia, 1662-1865” (University of North Carolina Press), examines clemency for enslaved women in Virginia through the end of the Civil War, illuminating a system that upheld the rule of law via legal paternalism. 

“To receive an award named in honor of Letitia Woods Brown, one of the most prolific scholars of African American history and Washington, D.C. makes this recognition particularly meaningful to me. The Association of Black Women Historians is a scholarly home for me, and there’s no greater privilege than to be read by scholars you deeply admire,” Nunley said.

Nunley serves on the editorial boards of the Civil War History journal and the Journal of Southern History. Her work has been supported by the Andrew Mellon and Woodrow Wilson foundations as well as the American Association of University Women and the Bright Institute Fellowship.

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